Inventory Hits 2021 High, Competition Remains Fierce

10720 S Moapa Ave, Portland, OR 97219
Presented by Matt Tercek | Offered at $1,599,000 | MLS# 21114701

From REALTOR® Magazine

Home buyers are finding more housing selections this fall, but they’re still up against some serious competition. Nearly one-third of the 50 largest metros saw increases in the number of newly listed homes compared to last year, according to a new report from realtor.com®.

“This September, buyers had more options than they’ve had all year and while that’s typical of early fall, that’s not what happened in 2020,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Still, it’s important to remember that while buyers may have an easier time this fall than they did in the spring, the market remains more competitive than it has been historically at this time of year.”

“This September, buyers had more options than they’ve had all year and while that’s typical of early fall, that’s not what happened in 2020,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Still, it’s important to remember that while buyers may have an easier time this fall than they did in the spring, the market remains more competitive than it has been historically at this time of year.”

The U.S. median home price continued to hold at August’s near record-high of $380,000. List prices are up 20.6% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, realtor.com® notes. The top five markets with the highest price growth rate are in Austin, Texas (+33.6%); Las Vegas (+24.6%); Tampa, Fla. (+20.8%); Orlando (+16.9%); and Riverside, Calif. (+15.4%).

Some areas of the country are seeing more new listings added to the market than others. New listings have grown the most in competitive markets like Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Washington, D.C.—all with inventories up more than 10% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the areas with some of the largest drops in newly listed homes in September tend to be in places that were affected by Hurricane Ida, including the Northeast (down 5.4%) and South (down 3.2%). New listings declined the most in the hard-hit area of like New Orleans, down 51.2%, according to realtor.com®.

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


New Home Sales Rise for Second Consecutive Month

14949 SW Hat Rock Loop, Powell Butte, OR 97753
Presented by Carmen Cook | Offered at $1,850,000 | MLS# 220129823

From housingwire.com

Market supply reaches at a 6.1 month level.

Sales of new single-family homes in August increased 1.5% from the prior month, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 740,000, according to a report from the U.S. Commerce Department released on Friday. That’s the second straight month of rising sales for homebuilders, though there’s good reason to think the height of the frenzy is behind us.

Sales of new homes were down 24.3% from a year prior, and the median sales price of new single-family homes in August 2021 reached $390,900, 20.1% higher than August 2020.

“The housing market over the summer of 2021 appears to have settled at a level lower than the surge in the second half of 2020 into early 2021,” Ben Ayers, a senior economist at Nationwide, said in a statement. “Still, new home sales remain high relative to levels since the housing market crash and show continued strong demand from buyers.”

The number of new houses for sale in August 2021 (378,000) represents a 6.1 month supply of new houses at the current sales rate, according to the report. This is a 74.3% increase over August 2020 levels, and reflects the 17.4% increase in housing starts compared to a year ago.

Industry experts feel that this is a reflection of the steadying confidence among homebuilders, which remains high, despite a recent decline.

“Builder sentiment remains strong and housing demand is being supported by ongoing low mortgage interest rates and a shortage of existing home inventory,” Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement

Despite rising housing starts and steadying confidence levels among builders, the industry still faces some challenges including continued material and labor shortages. Because of the labor and material issues, many homebuilders have delayed putting up the number of new homes up for sale.

“The solid improvement in August sales does not mean that builders are in the clear — building material supply chain issues and labor shortages are still very real challenges that buyers and builders alike are eager to see resolved,” Zillow economist Matthew Speakman said in a statement. “It’s critical that builders continue to find ways to get around these existing challenges and bring new homes to the market in higher numbers, giving even marginal relief to would-be buyers exasperated by intense competition and limited housing supply.”

Nearly 80% of homes sold in August were either under construction or yet to be built.

“This report continues to highlight the ongoing difficulties that homebuilders are facing as they attempt to work through their current construction backlog, due to a shortage of labor and elevated material costs and outright shortages,” added Mark Palim, deputy chief economist at Fannie Mae.

Regionally, on a year-to-date basis, new home sales fell 1.0% in the Northeast and 2.3% in the West, but rose 4.4% in the Midwest and 4.5% in the South.

Full article at housingwire.com


Mortgage Demand From Homebuyers Jumps to Highest Level Since April, After New Listings Rise All Summer

2185 Christina St NW, Salem, OR 97304
Presented by Hamid Karimi | Offered at $1,500,000 | MLS# 21147454

From cnbc.com

Fall is usually the start of the slower season for the housing market, but nothing is usual in today’s pandemic-driven housing market. Potential homebuyers are seeing a slight rise in inventory and consequently rushing back into the fray.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home jumped 7% last week from the previous week, seasonally adjusted, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. An additional adjustment was made to account for the Labor Day holiday. That is the highest level since April of this year. These applications were still 11% lower than the same week one year ago, but that was the smallest annual decline in 14 weeks.

Buyers have been hamstrung by the meager supply of homes for sale, but that supply has been rising lately, albeit slowly. The number of new listings rose for nine straight weeks during the summer, but finally fell again last week, according to a Realtor.com report.

“Even with the recent new listings slip, the gap with pre-COVID levels has shrunk significantly as more new sellers have entered the market so far in 2021 than last year,” according to the report.

Home prices continue to gain at a record pace, and that was also reflected in the purchase mortgage applications.

“Both conventional and government purchase applications increased, and the average loan size for a purchase application rose to $396,800. The very competitive purchase market continues to put upward pressure on sales prices,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

Applications to refinance a home loan fell 3% for the week and were also 3% lower than the same week one year ago. Borrowers have not had a lot of incentive to refinance, as mortgage rates have barely budged in the last month, and rates are now higher than they were at the start of the year.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) remained unchanged at 3.03%, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 64.9% of total applications from 66.8% the previous week.

Full article at cnbc.com


Mortgage Rates Stuck at 2.88% Amid Rise in COVID Cases

15007 Ponderosa Loop, La Pine, OR 97739
Presented by Kelly and Corey Charon | Offered at $1,900,000 | MLS# 220122149

From housingwire.com

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was stagnant at 2.88% for the week ending Sept. 9, according to mortgage rates data released Thursday by Freddie Mac‘s PMMS.

The week prior, mortgage rates also held steady at 2.87%. This week’s near constant mortgage rates tracked with the 10-year Treasury yield, which rose slightly and then tapered off in the past week. The 10-year Treasury yield for Sept. 8 was 1.35.

According to Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, the recent rise in COVID cases has hindered progress in the economy overall.

“While the economy continues to grow, it has lost momentum over the last two months due to the current wave of new COVID cases that has led to weaker employment, lower spending and declining consumer confidence,” said Khater. “Consequently, mortgage rates dropped early this summer and have stayed steady despite increases in inflation caused by supply and demand imbalances.”

“The net result for housing is that these low and stable rates allow consumers more time to find the homes they are looking to purchase,” Khater said.

A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.86%. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose only slightly from the week prior, again, at 2.19%.

Full article at housingwire.com


New Listings Jump 5.1%; Price Adjustments Moderate

12716 S Edgecliff Rd, Portland, OR 97219
Presented by Kristen Kohnstamm | Offered at $2,395,000 | MLS# 21006067

From REALTOR® Magazine

More homeowners are listing their homes for sale, which is opening up options for anxious home buyers who have faced fierce competition the last few months over a limited housing stock.

New listings rose 5.1% in the 50 largest metros. The largest increases were in Columbus, Ohio (up 25.6%); Louisville, Ky. (up 22.8%); and Cleveland (up 21.6%), according to realtor.com®s newly released Monthly Housing Report.

Also, as more inventory and new listings arrived on the market in August, the rate of sellers making price adjustments has also begun to approach more normal levels, realtor.com® notes. The share of sellers who made listing price adjustments grew to 17.3% of active inventory, which is the highest share in 21 months and close to more typical levels that were seen between 2016 to 2019, researchers note.

Still, housing remains tight, even if with the additional inventory. U.S. housing inventory was down 25.8% year-over-year in August. That did mark an improvement over last month when inventories were down 33.5% annually.

Meanwhile, new listings were up 4.3% compared to a year ago.

“Low mortgage rates have motivated home buyers to endure this year’s challenging market and now some buyers are starting to see their persistence pay off,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “This month, new sellers added more affordable entry-level homes to the market compared to last year, while others began adjusting listing prices to better compete with an uptick in inventory.”

Housing remains a strong seller’s market as homes continue to sell quickly at record-high prices, Hale says. “But now a home priced well and in good condition may see two to three bids compared to 10 last year,” she notes. “For sellers not seeing as many offers, it may be worth revisiting pricing strategies as buyers continue searching for homes that fit their budgets.”

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


Why 2021 Is Still the Year To Sell Your House

61151 Parrell Road, Bend, OR 97702
Presented by Cyndi Robertson | Offered at $997,500 | MLS# 220124791

From Keeping Current Matters

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to sell your house, this is the time to think seriously about making a move. Fannie Mae’s recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) reveals the number of respondents who say it’s a good time to sell is higher now than it was over the past few summers (see graph below). Today, the majority of consumers, 75 percent, say it’s a good time to sell a house.

Why is sellers sentiment up year-over-year?

The higher good time to sell sentiment has to do with today’s market conditions, specifically low housing supply and high buyer demand. In the simplest terms, we don’t have enough houses available for sale to meet buyer demand.

According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), we’re still firmly in a sellers’ market because housing supply is well below a balanced norm (shown in the graph below).

Clearly, the scales are tipped in a seller’s favor today. But while housing supply is undeniably low, the right side of the graph shows how the inventory situation is improving little by little each month as more sellers list their homes for sale.

As a seller, that means each month, buyers have more options to pick from. By extension, that means your house may get less buyer attention with time. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:

“More homeowners continue to list homes for sale compared to a year ago… Notably, while new listings continue to lag behind a more ‘normal’ 2019 pace, the gap is shrinking. Even though homes continue to sell quickly thanks to high demand and limited supply, new listings are subtly shifting the balance of market conditions in favor of buyers.”

So, what’s that mean for you?

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to sell, there may not be a better chance than right now. Inventory is gradually increasing each month, so selling sooner rather than later will help you maximize your home’s potential.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters


Top 25 Places to Buy a Vacation Home

2169 Forest Dr, Seaside, OR 97138
Presented by Sally Conrad | Offered at $659,000 | MLS# 21687504

From REALTOR® Magazine

Vacation homes are in demand since the pandemic, but which hot spots are consumers targeting that offer some of the best investment potential?

Vacasa, a vacation rental management platform, released its 2021 Top 25 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home report, identifying the top U.S. destinations for purchasing a vacation rental property. Among other factors, researchers factored in average cap rate or yearly rate of return in determining the rankings.

“Market conditions are always shifting, but the accelerated and lasting adoption of short-term rentals during the pandemic has had a clear impact on second-home sales,” said Shaun Greer, vice president of sales and marketing at Vacasa. “The spike in guest demand and preference for new, more remote destinations is changing where prospective buyers can find the best investment properties.”

Gatlinburg, Tenn., topped this year’s list, climbing four spots from 2020. Newcomer cities claimed more than half of the spots in 2021, including Deep Creek Lake, Md., Cle Elum, Wash., Litchfield Beach, S.C., and Twentynine Palms, Calif.

The following are the top 25 places to buy a vacation home in 2021, according to Vacasa’s rankings:

  1. Gatlinburg, Tenn.: $320,111 (median home sale price)
  2. St. Augustine, Fla.: $365,576
  3. Gulf Shores, Ala.: $402,905
  4. Dauphin Island, Ala.: $382,699
  5. Norris Lake, Tenn.: $343,907
  6. Blue Ridge, Ga.: $290,934
  7. Palm Springs, Calif.: $539,370
  8. Deep Creek Lake, Md.: $439,367
  9. Seaside, Ore.: $466,086
  10. Ludlow, Vt.: $346,950
  11. Big Bear, Calif.: $372,667
  12. Rockaway Beach, Ore.: $330,831
  13. Cle Elum, Wash.: $551,586
  14. Big Sky, Mont.: $850,000
  15. Twentynine Palms, Calif.: $263,897
  16. Killington, Vt.: $317,336
  17. Bear Lake, Utah: $383,734
  18. Litchfield Beach, S.C.: $499,259
  19. Pagosa Springs, Colo.: $361,320
  20. Banner Elk, N.C.: $331,290
  21. St. George Island, Fla.: $471,501
  22. Ellijay, Ga.: $281,402
  23. Florissant, Colo.: $367,000
  24. Corolla, N.C: $608,953
  25. Holden Beach, N.C.: $580,847

View more information on each place as well as the cap rates at vacasa.com.

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


Weekly Mortgage Demand Hints at Return of the First-time Homebuyer

1306 E Vintage St, Newberg, OR 97132
Presented by Jennifer Nash | Offered at $925,000 | MLS# 21280163

From cnbc.com

After falling steadily for a month, demand for mortgages to purchase a home rose slightly last week.

Coupled with a continued increase in refinancing, total mortgage application volume rose 2.8% for the week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 2% for the week but were still 18% lower than a year ago. Buyers are contending with high prices and limited supply, although more residences are slowly coming onto the market. The type of loan now seeing higher demand is telling.

“The higher level of purchase activity last week was driven by more government purchase applications, including a 3.3% increase in FHA loans,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “With low for-sale inventory keeping home price appreciation in many markets at record highs, the jump in FHA purchase applications is potentially a sign that more first-time buyers are finding purchase options despite the high prices.”

A slight increase in mortgage rates did not deter borrowers, especially since rates are still historically low. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased to 2.99% from 2.97%, with points decreasing to 0.30 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment.

Applications to refinance a home loan increased 3% for the week but were 8% lower than one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 68% of total applications from 67.6% the previous week.

“Homeowners continue to respond to lower rates, with refinance activity climbing to the highest level since February 2021,” Kan said.

Full article at cnbc.com


Surprising Shift Favors Homeowners: Buyers Now Prefer Existing Homes

636 NW Portland Avenue, Bend, OR 97703
Presented by Sheila Balyeat | Offered at $1,200,000 | MLS# 220121987

From Keeping Current Matters

In April, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) posted an article, Home Buyers’ Preferences Shift Towards New Construction, which reported: “60% of people who were looking to buy a home in 2020 said they’d prefer new construction to an existing home.”

However, it seems buyers are now shifting their preferences back to existing homes.

The latest Consumer Confidence Survey reveals the percentage of Americans planning to buy a home in the next six months is virtually the same as it was back in March. However, the percentage that plan to buy a newly constructed home is lower for that same period.

NAHB confirms this sentiment in their latest Housing Trends Report. The organization explains that existing homes are now the top preference among today’s buyers. Here’s a breakdown of those findings:

Surprising Shift Favors Homeowners: Buyers Now Prefer Existing Homes | Keeping Current Matters

Why the shift?

There are several reasons why buyer preference is shifting. Here are two that impact purchasers looking to move in now:

• The process may move faster. Builders may not be able to guarantee when the house will be complete and ready for move-in due to supply chain challenges with materials like lumber and appliances. If you buy an existing home, not only is it ready, it also likely has a refrigerator, range, and other necessary home appliances already.

• There are no unexpected costs during the buying process. With the price of land, labor, and lumber being so volatile, many builders are including an escalation clause in the price negotiation to cover rising expenses. With an existing home, the final price you will pay is negotiated upfront.

If you’re a homeowner looking to sell, your house is more attractive to a greater number of buyers as compared to earlier in the year. This might be the time to contact a local real estate professional to discuss the possibility.

If you’re a homeowner looking to sell, your house is more attractive to a greater number of buyers as compared to earlier in the year. This might be the time to contact a local real estate professional to discuss the possibility.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters


15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages Reach Record Low

11422 S Breyman Ave, Portland, OR 97219
Presented by Kim Kelleher | Offered at $1,474,000| MLS# 21687117

From REALTOR® Magazine

Borrowers can still take advantage of some of the lowest mortgage rates of all time. For the fifth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has remained below 3%. Also, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.10% this week, an all-time low, Freddie Mac reported.

“As the economy works to get back to its pre-pandemic self, the fight against COVID-19 variants unfolds, owners and buyers continue to benefit from some of the lowest mortgage rates of all-time,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

In 2019, mortgage rates averaged 3.94%, 4.54% in 2018, and more than 6% in 2008. That said, “expect mortgage rates to modestly rise in the following months as most of the economic indicators will start to stabilize,” Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting for the National Association of REALTORS®, said on the association’s Economists’ Outlook blog. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, is predicting the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to increase to 3.3% by the end of the year and average 3.6% in 2022.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending July 29:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.80%, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 2.78% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 2.99%.

• 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.10%, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 2.12% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.51%.

• 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.45%, with an average 0.3 point, falling from last week’s 2.49% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.94%.

Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates along with average points to better reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining a mortgage.

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine